Work begins in Scotland on UK’s first rocket launch site in 50 years

The rocket launch pad is expected to be operational by early 2022.

Work begins in Scotland on UK’s first rocket launch site in 50 years Supplied

Construction has begun in Moray on the first orbital space launch pad to be built in the UK for 50 years.

Orbex, a rocket manufacturer based in Forres, has commissioned Banff engineering firm Motive Offshore Group to build the pad at the test site near Kinloss.

The platform will support the testing of Orbex’s plans to launch its ‘Prime rocket’ – a micro-launcher designed to transport small satellites to low Earth orbit.

It is the first launchpad to be built in the UK since the High Down Rocket Test Site on the Isle of Wight, which shut in the 1970s.

Rockets are expected to be blasting off from the site by early next year.

The launchpad is expected to accelerate plans for the construction of Orbex’s spaceport at Sutherland, in the North of Scotland, which is due to begin in early 2022.

Orbex CEO Chris Larmour said: “The ability for our engineers to test Prime on its own launchpad is a major advancement on the roadmap to launch, and we are happy to already be constructing this major piece of infrastructure with Motive Offshore, a partner which has a very strong track record in other relevant industries,”

“This will be the first launchpad of its kind built in the UK for more than half a century and we look forward to seeing it completed and ready to go into service in the New Year.”